For week 3 of Advent we lit the candle that represented Joy. Below is a reading that we resourced from an advent devotional that The Village church put out in 2015.
Today we light the candle that represents Joy. magine the scene: shepherds on the midnight watch, ears and eyes open for signs of danger, sheep bleating in the background. And then, out of nowhere, an angel of the Lord bursts onto the scene with the news of the Savior’s birth.
Luke 2:8-11 says:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
It is amazing that God chose this group of men as the first to hear the good news. In the time of Jesus’ birth, people regarded shepherds as liars and thieves. Because they were nomadic, moving from place to place to graze their flocks, people didn’t readily trust them. Yet it was to men such as this that God announced the Messiah’s coming. He told them first! Not royalty, not the religious leaders of the day, but shepherds – lowly and insignificant. He invited them into His story and then mobilized them as the very first evangelicals.
As soon as they heard news of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds felt compelled to act. They went with haste, leaving their flocks behind, to find Mary, Joseph, and the Savior Child lying in a manger. And once they beheld the One through whom salvation would come, they spread the word of all that had taken place.
We are like these men – unlikely recipients of an unbelievable reality. Just as God called the shepherds to witness and testify to Christ’s birth, so we are called to herald the saving work of his death and resurrection. As believers, we have been invited into His story, sent out as heralds of both Jesus’ first coming and His second. As we consider the shepherds, let us respond as they did to this good news of great joy – with amazement, belief, and action.